Basketball Proves a Winner

Mon 1 August 2005

Basketball has proved a major drawcard of the South Pacific Mini Games, with the public turning out in droves to watch matches and those outside Palau following the Games daily on the website.

With the mens finals commencing today and the final round of womens round robin taking place, the competition is heating up. If the level of competition so far is any indication, the finals promise to be an exciting climax to the Games.

The world has kept in touch with the basketball competition through the 2005 South Pacific Mini Games website. This has proved extremely popular with basketball followers - so far the basketball site has had the most page requests of any other sport, with a total of 30,192 requests over the first 7 days of the Games, or an average of 4,313 per day. The site has also averaged 44 MB of traffic per day. The website provides all the latest results, news, photos, game and player statistics, player profiles, and tournament information.

The Palau National Gymnasium has been consistently jam-packed by crowds which have blown the decibel level through the roof with their cheering, singing, banging, clapping and screaming. At the end of the mens round robin matches Guam, Palau, and Solomon Islands were all on 5 points at the top of pool 1, seperated by percentage, with FSM on the bottom on 3 points. In the pool 2 stadings, New Caledonia finished first on 6 points, followed by Fiji (5), PNG (4) and Marshall Islands (3).

In the first round of finals, cross-over matches were played between pools (1st Pool 1 v 4th Pool 2, 2nd Pool 1 v 3rd pool 2, and vice versa). As expected, the top-two teams from each pool won, with the exception of PNG upsetting Palau 89-80. Today's ranking matches will see Solomon Islands and Palau play off for 5th and 6th spot, while Marshall Islands and FSM will play off for 7th and 8th place. On Tuesday the Semi Final clashes will be Guam v Fiji at 5:00pm and New Caledonia v PNG at 7:00pm. The winners will play in the gold/ silver medal decider on Wednesday (7:00pm), while the losers will play for the bronze medal (3:00pm Wednesday).

In the womens competition, Fiji has secured top spot in the standings. With the bye in the last round, they will finish undefeated on 14 points. So long as PNG defeat bottom placed FSM today, they will finish in second place, with third place still up for grabs between New Caledonia, Palau and Solomon Islands.

No doubt over the next three days of finals action the crowds will continue to pack out the National Gymnasium and create an electric atmosphere as basketball's powerhouse nations clash to decide the kings and queens of Pacific Island basketball.


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